Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, admitted that US officials “did not know how contagious the coronavirus was” at the start of the epidemic.
Birx made the revelation on Fox News Thursday during a digital chat event with journalist Martha MacCallum.
She said initial data on the Covid-19 outbreak from China had information gaps, leaving the United States unable to properly prepare for the pandemic.
“The bottom line was we didn’t know how contagious it was,” said Dr. Birx.
“I think that when you make the wrong contagion assumptions at the start, you are not preparing yourself the way you should prepare for the level of contagion that this COVID-19 presents,” she added.
Dr. Deborah Birx (right), coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, told Fox News reporter Martha MacCallum (left) that US officials “didn’t know how bad the coronavirus was contagious ”at the beginning.
Dr. Birx said China’s first reports came from a “very difficult situation” and did not measure asymptomatic cases or mild illness.
“In this case, it may be an important part of the epidemic, so we didn’t know how it spread,” she said.
US officials were also unaware of the spread of the coronavirus and contact with the surface.
In the United States – which has the highest number of infections in the world – there are at least 245,356 confirmed cases and a death toll of 6,056.
As of Thursday, the United States had recorded more than 230,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 5,647 deaths.
MacCallum asked Dr. Birx for evidence that China had intentionally underestimated the severity and extent of the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan city in late December 2019.
The U.S. intelligence community has submitted a report to the White House that says China has underreported confirmed cases and deaths, reports Bloomberg.
Trump has doubled these claims, saying that the figures reported by China were “a little bit light.”
Dr. Birx replied that she was fighting the HIV epidemic in Africa when the epidemic started and looked at new data from China.
Dr Birx (photo): “I think that when you make the wrong contagion assumptions from the start, you don’t prepare yourself in the way you prepare for the level of contagion that this COVID-19 presents”
“I think when we looked at the profile, there was first a question about human-to-human transmission – it’s really essential because it stops with this first set of transmission,” said Dr. Birx.
“So there was this first question, and I think when you’re in the middle of an epidemic, it’s hard for you to test to a level that you really have to look for these asymptomatic cases and really look for these people with mild illness .
“So now we find out that most of the reports were for very serious cases. “
Healthcare professionals and authorities in the United States continue to fight for a coronavirus epidemic as the number of infections and deaths increases.
America is the first country in the world to report 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours.
Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the CDC and China are responsible for America’s late response to the pandemic.
Vice President Mike Pence Blamed CDC and China for Slow US Response to Coronavirus
This comes after President Trump blamed New York’s epidemic – with 92,700 infections and 2,400 deaths – to the impeachment investigation in a letter to Senator Chuck Schumer.
Pence told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I will be very frank with you and say that in mid-January, the CDC was still assessing the risk of coronavirus for the American people as low. The very first case involving a person who was in China, I believe, occurred in late January around January 20. “
“The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more open. I mean, the reality is that China has been more transparent with regard to the coronavirus than it has certainly been with other infectious diseases in the past 15 years.
“But what seems obvious now is that long before the world learned in December that China was facing it, and perhaps even a month earlier, that the epidemic was real in China,” said he noted.
He also warned that the United States could see conditions as bad as those of Italy, which has recorded more than 110,000 cases and more than 13,000 deaths. Italy is also on a national lockdown.
China reported its first known death from the new 2019 coronavirus on January 11. The first American case was reported in Seattle on January 21 – a person returning from a visit to Wuhan, China, where the epidemic began.
Pence has defended President Donald Trump and the administration against criticism that they have responded too slowly to the pandemic.
“I don’t think the president ever downplayed the threat of the coronavirus,” Pence told Blitzer.
The White House on Tuesday projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United States if current guidelines on social distancing are maintained.
Dr. Birx agreed with the estimate, but warned that there could be up to 2.2 million deaths if the United States did nothing to contain the epidemic.
Dr. BIrx (center) agrees with estimates that as many as 240,000 Americans could die from a coronavirus if the disease is not contained
The epidemic in the United States has arrived. a head when the country’s first coronavirus death occurred in Washington State at the Life Care Center in Kirkland (photo)
Pence argued that the work done by the administration – including encouraging social distancing, limiting social gatherings and eating takeout as part of their “15 days to slow the spread” guidelines – helped maintain the infection rate at a low level.
“We have set up travel advisories and filtering for people from Asia and also from Italy, then we are suspending travel from Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and all efforts to ‘mitigation that the federal government has advanced and that the states have – progressing’. said the vice president.
Trump addressed the estimate Tuesday at a press conference.
“It is absolutely essential that the American people follow the guidelines for the next 30 days, this is a matter of life and death, frankly,” said President Trump.
“I want every American to be prepared for the difficult days ahead. We are going through some very difficult weeks. And hopefully, as the experts predicted, many of us predict having studied it so hard, will start to see real light at the end of the tunnel and it will be very painful, very very painful two weeks, “he noted.